Bonfire Night: How 'quiet' fireworks are sparking positive reactions from families with autism

Tredegar has been praised for its autism-friendly firework display, where low-noise fireworks were enjoyed by many in all their glory. 

Last night, the event organised by Barnardo’s for families with a child with a declared disability, saw autistic adults and parents of autistic children enjoy Bonfire Night without the unpredictable, loud bangs. 

Mark Carter, Barnardo’s assistant director for children’s services said: 

‘’We’re thrilled to be able to offer this event. For us, it’s about creating safe, sensory experiences for children.’’

He added: ‘’This weekend there will be so many events going on across the country that so many of these families will not be able to go to, so this is about us being able to deliver an event that is safe and accessible.’’  

Jonathan Mellen, director of Pendragon Fireworks says low-noise fireworks have increased in popularity

Supplying the low-noise fireworks for the event was Jon Mellen, director of Pendragon Fireworks, who says they’ve increased in popularity:

‘’More and more people each year are asking for low-noise ones.‘’

One who’s struggled in the past with Bonfire night and firework displays is Rhys Jenkins. Rhys was diagnosed with autism at the age of 16, he told ITV Wales:

‘’As a child, due to the way my brain processes sensory environments around me, firework displays were unsettling, challenging and difficult. As a kid, I can only remember seeing maybe one or two firework displays and I can still remember telling my mum, ‘’Mum, I really don’t like this, the bangs are very distracting, very unsettling.’’

Continuing to describe the distressing effect of mainstream fireworks, Rhys explained: 

‘’I believe they caused me physical pain, I didn’t know it at the time and hindsight being the beautiful thing that it is, it actually caused me pain to hear those fireworks. ‘’

The low-noise fireworks display enabled Sarah Green and her family to enjoy Bonfire night together

Enjoying the ‘’absolutely brilliant’’, family-friendly display were Sarah Green and her Family. 

For once, the low-noise firework display enabled her and her family to enjoy Bonfire night together. 

‘’It’s really difficult, especially things like Bonfire night and big events to find things that are suitable for both the children. My youngest struggles with noise and sudden noise so the low-noise fireworks are so much better for us. It just means we can all go together as a family rather than having to split up all the time. ‘’

With many families coming together to enjoy a fireworks display for the first time, Barnardo’s say that they will continue with the event in future.